“One day in a theology class one of the school’s leading professors was asked if it were really necessary as ministers of the gospel to believe in the eternal hell-fire torment of the lost. I was surprised that the student would dare to ask such a question, and expected a firm, solid, scriptural answer squelching its heretical implications.
But the answer proved more surprising than the question. The gist of the professor’s reply was that, admittedly, there were problems, and the traditional view did seem harsh, but, after all, it was the orthodox view and the most practical one to hold. Suffice to say I left the class with a seed of doubt in my heart; small, yes, but it was there just the same.
The study of Hebrew led to a determination upon graduation to prepare all Old Testament lessons and messages, so much as God enabled me, directly from the Hebrew Scriptures rather than from any English translation. At that time I was conducting a mid-week, verse-by-verse study in Genesis, and following this method of preparation. Needless to say, it did not take long to see that the Hebrew word for soul, nephesh, was used for all other living creatures as well as for man.”